Email lists and course enrolments

The primary tool for independent knowledge workers building a portfolio job and interacting directly with their customers is the email list. Even if the target is 1000 true fans, the email list will likely need to be much larger. Regular, quality content will attract an audience, and that audience can lead to a living. With this in mind, the first job for an independent creative is to build and cultivate an email list by giving away content that people value.

Many subscribers will be interested in free content but may not want to buy anything or might be highly price-sensitive based on their circumstances. Converting subscribers into purchases requires build relationships through regular interaction, so they value and trust the content that will eventually come with a price tag. Teachable advise those course creators who follow their marketing process have achieved a minimum of 2% conversion rates from their email lists to enrolments on online courses, but this could be much higher for established email lists with cultivated relationships.

Teachables Course launch goals calculator

Revenue goal = (Total email subscribers x Conversion rate) x Price for your course

Teachable recommends that creators aim for a premium price for their course to allow the instructor to spend time creating and running a great course and making it easier to reach any target revenue goal. Teachable’s top ten instructors’ average course price is $272 (£200), but some courses can cost over $1000, where significant interaction with the instructors are a feature.

If our revenue goal is £10,000 from the first run of our new course, and we price it using the average from Teachable’s top ten instructors, we need to sell to 50 students (£10,000/£200). Using the goal’s calculators conservative estimate of 2% conversion rate, we first need to build a list of 2,500 email addresses before we market and launch our course.

The Course launch calculator is based on real courses data, but it is not meant to be an exact formula. Teachable’s aim is similar to Kevin Kelly’s objective with his 1000 true fans idea, to demystify the process of making money on the internet and encouraging people to start creating content that someone somewhere will love. 

Regularly create and release content someone will value, collect the email addresses of these people, interact with them, and over time you will be able to make a living working for yourself.